Nigel Farage: Those who can afford it should opt for private healthcare to relieve burden on the NHS

 
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Farage calls for grown-up debate on healthcare (Source: Getty)

Those who can afford to buy private healthcare should do so because they would help to relieve the burden on the NHS, according to Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Appearing on Tuesday's edition of the Daily Politics, Farage answered a host of questions on Ukip's policy platform, including healthcare. Farage emphasised that Ukip supported a National Health Service free at the point of use.

When asked by Jo Coburn if everyone who can afford it should go use private healthcare, Farage replied, "Yes, and do you know why? Because that would actually relieve some of the burden on the NHS".

On BBC Radio 5 Live, Farage clarified that going private wasn't something wealthy people "should" do and said it would mean them paying for their healthcare twice. "They'll be paying once through general taxation into the NHS and secondly for their own private cover", Farage said.

He went onto to criticise what he said amounted to Labour's privatisation of the NHS through private finance initiative (PFI) contracts. Farage said his personal view on whether the NHS should move towards a more insurance-based system had changed because of the experience of private provision during the New Labour years.

Responding to passages in his latest book that both praise and criticise the NHS, Farage said:

I have to say, of all the topics that we discuss in this country, when the NHS gets discussed all it needs is someone to say 'aren't the doctors and nurses wonderful' everybody claps and its the end of the debate.

He added:

Just because you criticise something, doesn't mean you don't love it and value it.

Farage contracted testicular cancer when he was 21, which was missed by NHS diagnostics.

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